Developers

iCloud.com, iWork for iOS 5 beta apps go live

iCloud.com is now live... if you have an Apple ID that works with iCloud. Here's the thing -- it's meant for developers right now, and Apple IDs are still fragmented to the extent that for some people, iCloud might not be too useful yet.

For example, you may try to login with your MobileMe ID and be told it hasn't been migrated to iCloud yet. You might try to login with your iTunes ID and then, once you're in, be told you need a MobileMe address to access Mail. You can set up a new, free iCloud ID, but then all of the content you have connected to your existing Apple ID(s) won't be there.

So, yeah, meant for developers. Still, it's nice to see it up and running, and get a preview of the design (which we're guessing is a fairly straight front-end port of the SproutCore web app code from Me.com, now running on the all new iCloud backend.)

Current web apps available include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find my iPhone, and the new Documents, which currently offers Apple's iWork formats for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. (The last three of which require the new iWork for iOS beta apps, downloadable via Apple's developer site.)

Gone are iDisk and Gallery. iCloud is no doubt an attempt to abstract away the file system-like behavior for the former, but will a web front end for PhotoStream be made available to replace the latter?

Meanwhile, on iPhone you just get a placeholder card, nicely rendered, and the ability to get more information and a link to the developer beta.

Gallery of screenshots after the break.

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Will international app developers leave the US App Store over patent fears?

As expected Lodsys was but the first highly publicized patent troll to try its hand at getting licensing fees from small, independent iOS developers, and as more come creeping out of the woodwork, some international devs are considering leaving the US App Store to avoid the costs and potential legal nightmares.

Simon Maddox on Twitter:

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Apple releases iOS 5 beta 3 for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV to developers

Apple has just released iOS 5 beta 3 (9A5259f) for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, along with iTunes 10.5 beta 3 for Mac, and Xcode 4.3 Preview 3 for developers.

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Apple files motion to intervene on Lodsys patent lawsuits

Apple has filed a motion to intervene in Lodsys' lawsuits against 7 iOS developers. These developers are reportedly under NDA as well, so it's unknown if Apple is also stepping in with legal and financial support for the individuals, but they are clearly taken the suit back to Lodsys:

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Apple tells Lodsys that developers are licensed, asks them to withdraw threats [updated]

According to The Loop, Apple has sent a letter to patent holder Lodsys, asking them to stop threatening iOS developers with patent infringement letters.

“Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license,” wrote Bruce Sewell, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Good for Apple. More as this develops.

UPDATE: Macworld has the full text of Apple's response letter. Here are some good bits. [Macworld]

Because I believe that your letters are based on a fundamental misapprehension regarding Apple’s license and the way Apple’s products work, I expect that the additional information set out below will be sufficient for you to withdraw your outstanding threats to the App Makers and cease and desist from any further threats to Apple’s customers and partners.

Through its threatened infringement claims against users of Apple’s licensed technology, Lodsys is invoking patent law to control the post-sale use of these licensed products and methods. Because Lodsys’s threats are based on the purchase or use of Apple products and services licensed under the Agreement, and because those Apple products and services, under the reading articulated in your letters, entirely or substantially embody each of Lodsys’s patents, Lodsys’s threatened claims are barred by the doctrines of patent exhaustion and first sale. As the Supreme Court has made clear, “[t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holder’s rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article.” Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008).

Therefore, Apple requests that Lodsys immediately withdraw all notice letters sent to Apple App Makers and cease its false assertions that the App Makers’ use of licensed Apple products and services in any way constitute infringement of any Lodsys patent.

UPDATE 2: FOSS Patents weighs in with Florian Mueller's analysis [FOSS Patents]

I don't mean to be negative here. I just want to make all app developers fully aware of the issues they may still face. Since Lodsys is already suing a group of large players, which is collectively even more powerful than Apple, it would be irresponsibly optimistic to assume that Apple's letter all by itself is going to make Lodsys give up. Unless Apple settles the deal with Lodsys (neither the terms of such a deal nor the mere fact might ever be announced -- Lodsys might simply never follow up on its original infringement assertions), there will be some next step in this process, and things could still get nasty. So let's be optimistic today, but let's also be cautious.

UPDATE 3: Nilay Patel offers his thoughts as well [This is my Next]

The big question now is whether Lodsys is willing to take Apple to court in order to challenge that license interpretation; Lodsys would be fairly foolish to have not considered exactly this situation when they formulated their business plan. We’ll see what happens, but for the moment things have taken a promising turn.

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iAds now being served to iPad

Been missing those iAds on your iPad? Well, maybe if you were a developer you we

Ad Rich Media Ads. Now Being Served to iPad.

iAd rich media ads are now being served to iPad apps on the U.S. App Store, redefining mobile advertising with rich, immersive ads that take advantage of the 9.7 inch LED-backlit display. Make the most of this growing opportunity now. Learn how you can join the iAd mobile advertising network and generate more revenue with iAd.

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Can an Apple, divided against itself, stand?

Speaking of John Siracusa, he has an interesting post up on his Fat Bits blog concerning the Apple strategy tax -- whether Apple's increasingly divergent interests, from iTunes to iOS to App Store to iAds, will inevitably lead to compromise, contention, and/or conflict.

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Apple cuts minimum iAd purchase price in half

Apple has cut the minimum purchase price for advertisers on its mobile iAd network from $1 million to $500,000 in an effort to appeal to smaller companies and help broaden the mobile advertising platform, according to All Things Digital.

The new entry point is $500,000, a significantly smaller commitment, particularly for smaller brands and agencies that are creating and producing their own iAds.

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Apple announces iPhone, iPad subscriptions for all

While The Daily was first it certainly won't be last, not with Apple announcing their new subscription service is now available to all publishers.

“Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers.”

This obviously raises a lot of questions. Will Netflix have to -- and can they afford to -- give Apple 30% of the subscriber revenue? Sure existing subscribers are exempt but if someone downloaded the Netflix app, Apple no longer allows external linking to websites for subscriptions so would Netflix have to offer the same $8 streaming package in-app and split the revenue with Apple? Or is this service meant to be magazine/newspaper specific and not carry over to

Will Apple push this same philosophy to all in-app purchases? They might, given it sounds like that's what caused Sony -- and could cause everyone from Amazon to Hulu -- some consternation. In-app purchases will be lower friction (since outside linking is no longer allowed) for users and with Apple requiring the same or better offers in-app, high-volume goods like eBooks could see their entire profit margin get shifted to Apple. (i.e. Amazon makes 30% on eBooks, Apple wants 30% on in-app purchases. That's not tenable.)

Full press release with all the details after the break, and let us know what you think in comments!

[Apple PR]

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Does Apple need an iPhone nano to stop the ultra-cheap Android invasion?

Android is already the biggest iPhone competitor and if technology and emerging markets combine to create $100 off-contract Android phones, will Apple need an iPhone nano to keep both user and developer mindshare?

Seth Weintraub at Fortune kicked over this latest Android anthill with an article on how cheaper chipsets and Google strategy could align to make those $100 Android smartphones a reality, shoving the migration from feature phone to smartphone into overdrive. That's interesting in established markets like US and EU, where the idea of walking into a store, laying down very little cash, and walking out with a "good enough" handset, sans additional contract obligations, is a mainstream dream come true. In emerging markets in Asia and Africa, that's the gold mine. Forget a PC on every desk and in every home -- soon it will be a smartphone in every hand.

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